Solomon, the wisest man whoever lived, wrote some beautiful, and still timely words (Ecclesiastes 3):
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Today one of my mentors, George Weston, a man I love dearly and who I owe much of who I am as a minister , went home to his heavenly reward. This was not unexpected, and yet I find myself unable to really concentrate on much else. When the Lord called us to leave our last ministry, of which George was a great part, there were tears shed on both sides as we said goodbye to each other for the last time. Mourning is appropriate. I am going to miss George, and I am grateful for every moment I got with him. I am sad, I mourn and weep, but I am, all at once, grateful for the life he lived, his focus on the Kingdom and how he poured it in to me, and how he gave me something to aspire towards when I am an older minister. I hope to be half as much a minister as he was, and I dearly hope to make Jesus' name known the way he did. During this season, while I am mourning, George is thriving, flourishing in the presence of his great Reward, seeing Jesus face to face. We do not need to mourn as others do, no, we are promised the presence of Christ. Mourning is appropriate, and we should do so! But we have a hope of being reunited with Jesus and all others who have gone on to be with Him since His departing! It says in 2 Corinthians that "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (5:6-8, also Philippians 1:23). We have a promise and a great hope, a great hope solidified by this Christmas Season we celebrate, that God keeps and will fulfill all His promises in His word. We can stand upon it, and we can trust in Him. For now, I'm going to mourn while George is dancing in the presence of the Father, but oh the day I get my turn to see Jesus face to face. I will wait patiently for that day, and celebrate my friend and mentor who got there first.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Coming of the Lord
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[a] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. Footnotes:
1 Thessalonians 4:15 Or by the word of the Lord